I'm 21 and I've been with my boyfriend for nearly a year.
First of all what I'd like to explain is that we both have depression, our mutual problems are how we became close and we bonded and I feel we're strong together. I love him very much and he's my best friend.
The difficulty is that unlike him, my depression gives me intense paranoia and anxiety, something which I'm aiming to sort this year as I've been put in touch with a psychiatric nurse who is going to assess me.
I'm in a vulnerable position. I'm very much in love for the first time and I have issues with self confidence and my esteem.
This Christmas he's been going through an especially difficult time with his family and home life.
Thing is, he withdraws and I can't help but become paranoid I've done something or he's planning on finishing with me; I'd like to add that I have no proof of this whatsoever and I suppose I feel bad because I constantly think when he goes quiet or he's sad it's about me, out of the two of us I'd say in general he's able to deal with his feelings a lot better.
We've spoken about this, he's explained that withdrawing is how he deals with things, that he doesn't mean it, that when he's down he doesn't like being overly showered with attention (which I always get the terrible urge to do, naturally) and that he really doesn't feel the need to share all his problems and burden me with them.
The difficulty is I'm terribly sensitive to how he behaves, for example he's made it clear he's feeling down on Facebook and today I tried messaging him, he went offline pretty soon after and didn't reply; I know he most probably just doesn't feel like talking, but I couldn't help but be in tears after and fearful he was sick of me.
I've decided to give him some space, concentrate on myself for a bit and see how things go, I'll be seeing him in a few days, but I'm irrationally terrified he won't ever speak to me again if I wait for him to get in touch, again this is something I have no proof of.
More than anything I just want to be able to deal better with the amount of conflict that goes on in my head daily, part of me is so logical, but the fear makes me constantly negative and sad when we're apart. I don't really feel I can speak with him about it as much as I'd like to because I KNOW it's my problem, I know I'm oversensitive and I really don't want to stress him too much.
Currently I'm not in education or work; difficulty in coping with my depression is why I decided to leave university this year.
I really hope to become better in the coming year and I just wondered if anyone could give me any advice on how best to deal with things.
I am thinking that is is a rather "typical" scenario between men and women. One wants to move in for intimacy...and one retreats. This is the dance of intimacy. It is hard for some folk to get close. The reason? Fear. Fear of getting hurt. This is not so hard to figure out.
In a relationship you have to have trust. But the first trust you have to have is...trust of yourself that you will survive should things not work out. If you enter this relationship full of fear that at any moment he will leave...it generally doesn't work out. If he pulls away...you don't have to swoop in and seek reassurance. Let him know you are around but don't freak out if he needs some space. Give him some time to miss you. If this situation is right...he will come back to you when he is ready.
The other thing is...when two people are soley together as "pain partners" this also does not bode well for the future of the relationship. It is like...having two empty coffee cups. You gotta have something inside of you...self esteem...which exists even if you don't have a partner.
Last thing...you are not responsible for him...his moods...his behaviors...his happiness. He is. and you...are responsible for yourself. Can you help each other? sure. But make sure you are taking care of YOU. You become way more attractive when you care about yourself. I am glad you are seeking some help...this is a great first step. I really think you should give school or a job another try when you feel ready. Without things in your day...you have too much time to depend on him for...your self worth.
Hope I haven't been too "tough love" here. Please let us know how things evolve. You are a good and worthy person no matter what. You remember that!
Thankyou. Your advice has been really helpful to me and I appreciate it. To clarify, I just want to add however that although we did get together as "pain partners", we do have much more in common than that and the silly thing is, we do really enjoy eachother's company and have a laugh together. You've really enabled me to understand what I can do to help the situation, so once again thankyou.
what great advice merely me :) I really appreciated reading this, it's a great reminder that we should take care of ourselves and that the only person we are responsible for is ourselves. Again thanks :)
Hi, FuzzyLou. You said that you were going to see a psychiatric nurse - is that going to be for medication, or will it also include therapy? I think therapy could be very helpful to you in overcoming some of your anxiety and paranoia. The other thing that could help a lot is if you could both go together and talk about how you each tend to react to each other's depression. My husband and I have had this situation, each of us being avoiders and isolators and we've been able to work this out by talking about what's going on inside when we get this way. I am so much less paranoid about him being mad at me or hating me now and found out that he was afraid I would leave him! With both of you having depression, I think it's important that you address that, get things out on the table, otherwise this scenario could go on indefinitely, which isn't good for anyone.
Anyway, hope you will let us know how things are going and if you just want someone to listen, we're here.
Therapy and medication hopefully. The meds I am on currently aren't helping me much. You've raised some very good points though thankyou. :)
Maybe the two of you are really toxic for each other. Have you ever tried counceling. Once you find the one you are comfortable with, you will be on the road to being a happier couple. It works for me, but I am loaded with issues.